Where would anyone be without friends? There have been many experiences where friends have been a bit of light in the dark. When 30-year-old Alexandra “Pixie” Flather from a town near Aylsham, England found out that her best friend was diagnosed with Leukemia, she decided to take action. At the last minute, she decided to sign up for the London Triathlon and use it as a platform to raise money and awareness for blood cancers through an organization called Bloodwise.
She completed the triathlon in 2 hours and 55 minutes and surpassed her fundraising goal. The athlete used various social media and fundraising websites that make it easy for people and organizations to donate to her cause. Participating in athletic competitions with goal of raising money is one of the many ways in which people can support causes they are passionate about.
About the Organization
Bloodwise’s mission is “to stop people from dying from blood cancer, to make patient’s lives better, and to stop blood cancer from happening in the first place.” The organization is a UK based charity that was initially founded in the 1960s as the Leukemia Research Fund. Like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) in North America, the Leukemia Research Fund was started by a family who has lost a loved one. Following the death of their 6-year-old daughter, the Eastwood family wanted to do something to make a difference. Thanks to cutting edge research funded by organizations such as this one, the survival rate for people with blood cancers has more than quadrupled compared to what it was in the 1960s. Since the 1960s, the organization (now called Bloodwise) has given over 500 million pounds to various blood cancer research projects. They are currently funding over 1000 researchers across more than 220 different projects. Research also includes more than just focusing on a cure. They also focus on important issues such as prevention, and improving patient outlook.
The organization raises money in a multitude of ways. One of the ways they get support is by partnering with sporting events to create teams. Runners, swimmers, and cyclists can find different events to sign up with on the Bloodwise website. Interested athletes can find competitions near them and they can then sign up as an individual or family. All participants or teams will receive fundraising guides, sponsorship forms, and a collection box. Local non-athletic fundraising is also encouraged, and events can be searched by location. The have a whole section on their website that is dedicated to giving people ideas for fundraising. They encourage people to use the internet, talk to their employers about matching what they raise, creating quizzes and hosting parties, and more.
As the Holiday season approaches, Bloodwise has another way in which communities can get involved. Cards for Good Causes (CFGCs) is the largest multi-charity Christmas card organization. They have been partnered with Bloodwise for years. With over 300 shops throughout the UK staffed mostly by volunteers, they are vital in providing support to Bloodwise. Last year GFGCs raised 113, 000 pounds for Bloodwise. Volunteers are needed to serve in approximately 3-hour shifts per week at various community locations such as schools and libraries.
Bloodwise also encourages people to support them via social media. Whether it be in the form of leaving uplifting messages for patients, or contacting your member of parliament to raise awareness about campaigns, media volunteering is welcomed.
How Pixie Did it
For anyone who has tried to raise money for a cause, you know it is no easy feat. We’re always hearing in the media how people have raised massive amounts of money for charities, and they tend to make it seem easy. In fact, it takes a lot of time, dedication, and networking for people and teams to meet their fundraising goals. When Pixie signed up for the London triathlon it was somewhat last minute. This likely made meeting her fundraising goal difficult. Yet with a lot of perseverance she was able to raise almost 13,000 pounds with the support of her community. That’s 3,000 over her goal.
So how did she do it? With social media and numerous platforms for getting your cause funded, there are so many opportunities for people to raise money and awareness. Pixie used a combination of Twitter, Facebook, and a website called Justgiving.com. She continued posting to get those last-minute donations up until the night before her triathlon. On her JustGiving web page she gave an overview of Bloodwise. She explained to potential donors that support is important because organizations such as Bloodwise do not get any funding from the government. All of their funds come directly from supporters. The website allowed donors to see how close Pixie was to reaching her 10,000-pound goal. Donors could submit anonymously or use their name. The platform also allows them to post a message. The platform can also be linked to a fundraiser’s Facebook page.
Of the experience Pixie said, “It was physically and emotionally exhausting but so worth it. The weather was extraordinary, with hail, wind, rain, thunder and lightning, but it didn’t dampen my spirits and I was delighted with my time.” She received a lot of her donations from the farming community. Holt NFU mutual, as well as Aylsham Agricultural Show Association, H Banham Ltd, Ben Burgess and British Sugar all helped Pixie meet her goal by fundraising. Holt Rugby Football Club (RFC) posted an article on what Pixie was doing in the News and Calendar section of their main website. The page features a photo of Pixie in her running gear with her dog next to her. Pixie is a committee member at the Holt RFC and the club encouraged members and their readers to help her achieve her fundraising goal. The Holt RFC post also includes the link to Pixie’s fundraising page.
Supporting Loved Ones
Obviously fundraising for Bloodwise and other charities can support research initiatives that strive to find cures for diseases and improve patient care. But what about other benefits? Organizations that rely on donors in order to continue their mission create and participate in events for fundraising that bring friends, families, and communities together. Anyone who has any experience with cancer, whether personally or through a friend or loved one, knows that it can take a toll on the support group. Without a cure maintaining hope is essential. Fundraising and sporting events provide an environment for people committed to the same cause and effected by the same disease to come together and support each other, their loved ones, and survivors. These are bonds that help individuals to feel less lonely in the battle they are in. When the people we love fall ill with cancer, often a sense of helplessness permeates us. We want to give back and help ensure that other people do not have to experience what they have, but it can be hard to know what to do. Organizations such as Bloodwise can offer a bit of hope and support to people who are effected. They have clear ways in which people with all sorts of skills sets and physical abilities can get involved. Even if you have not been directly affected by cancer, fundraising and being a part of an organization that seeks to improve the lives of others can be incredibly rewarding.